The last quarter of 2016 must have been a time of mixed feelings at Ushahidi. As a tech company, it is always validating when the tools you develop are used, especially in largescale. The nature of Ushahidi, and genesis, is that their tools are deployed on mostly humanitarian grounds. This is when the more traditionally structured information channels get disrupted. Such as the 2007/2008 aftermath of Kenya’s General Elections which prompted Ory Okolloh to conceptualize and found Ushahidi as a tool for citizen reporting in a time when there was an information vacuum when such a vacuum is dangerous thing.
Since then, it has registered successful deployments under various teams including volunteer outfits like the Ushahidi Haiti Project and the Syria Tracker, global bodies like the World Vision, Red Cross and the UN Department of Field Services and even by political teams like the much spoken about Obama re-election campaign technical team.
2016 saw a deployment in the US to monitor elections extended to track incidents after the US elections saw demonstrations by people opposed to the President elect, Trump, and a spike in racially motivated incidents. It was a good deployment, but for what is regarded as the lowest moment of 2016. For a company that espouses humanitarian values, this was most likely beyond the fathomable.
However, the good news is there is an update on the platform; the collection and relay of information can now benefit from video. The latest Ushahidi update allows for embeds from YouTube and Vimeo by both deployers and contributors. The embed is done at the settings, and it is one step.
“As of our latest release, Ushahidi deployers and contributors can now embed videos from Youtube and Vimeo into posts. Simply go to your survey settings and add a video embed field.” the company said in a blog post, which also provides guidelines on the use of video as “a tool of transparency and citizen reporting”.
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